brainboxes compact flash custom chip

Brainboxes, the Bluetooth and serial PC add on specialists, announce a new CompactFlash interface ASIC that will shrink the active parts count of Bluetooth CF and PCMCIA cards to two chips. The new ASIC will also form the core of Brain Boxes and CSR’s CompactFlash reference design, enabling glueless interface (no extra components needed) to both CompactFlash/16 bit PCMCIA bus and CSR’s BlueCore Bluetooth chips. It marks a major step for Brain Boxes in their ongoing strategy of in-house development of key hardware and software components, and is the first in a series of announcements from Brain Boxes’ new partnership with CSR, whose BlueCore chips power 70% of the world’s Bluetooth designs.

The ASIC
The new BB16CF950+ ASIC will be used in various Brain Boxes products, and will be made available to third parties. This will represent the lowest cost bill of materials for a CompactFlash Type I/II BlueCore design. The new chip has a wide operating tolerance of 3.3V to 5V, making it suitable for a large range of portable devices, from PDAs and cellular ‘phones to laptops and point-of-sale terminals. Working closely with CSR, Brain Boxes have engineered the chip for a glueless interface to BlueCore01 and BlueCore2 chips, with several specific features built in such as power shutdown control, SPI interface for flash programming and auto reset on power up. All of which hold advantages to system designers, maintaining flexibility and minimising power consumption levels in the finished design.

Brain Boxes designed the ASIC as a low profile single chip interface to CompactFlash/16 bit PCMCIA bus, making the chip and reference design ideal for CompactFlash type I and II slots as well as PCMCIA type 2 and 3 slots. Providing a 128 byte send and 128 byte receive FIFO, with a 1.5MBaud serial interface to the BlueCore chip, the new ASIC ensures efficiency, reliability and utmost performance in the Bluetooth connections of new electronic devices.

The Reference Design
Brain Boxes and CSR’s CompactFlash reference design provides +4dBm class 2 power output, giving 40m line of sight Bluetooth range. The design represents the lowest bill of materials and parts count on the market, allowing manufacturers to rapidly move products from the drawing board to the market place. Brain Boxes also provide consultancy and design services alongside pre-qualification test equipment facilities to accompany the reference design.

Two versions of the reference design are available from Brain Boxes. The first version is available for free and contains a schematic of the circuit, datasheets on both CSR’s BlueCore chip and Brain Boxes BB16CF950+ ASIC, along with design notes. The second, which can be purchased from Brain Boxes contains all the above in addition to: 20 sample Brain Boxes chips and BlueCore2 chips, gerber plots of the four layer pcb layout, CNC drill data, solder paste masks, and two assembled and working CompactFlash cards. A CD containing all the information is also included.

For more information see the Brainboxes BB16CF950+ overview page.

Go back